20th Century

November 6, 1998

Newt Gingrich

He was the author of the Republican revolution of 1994—and one of the most powerful and polarizing leaders in Georgia history. Newton Leroy Gingrich was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1943. With his father stationed at Fort Benning, Gingrich graduated from Baker High School in Columbus. He earned a history degree from Emory and a […]

June 25, 1997

Atlanta Thrashers

If Atlanta loses one more hockey team, it will be a hat trick. Hockey and the Deep South have always been something of a forced marriage. The Flames arrived in Atlanta in 1972 and reached the NHL playoffs six times in eight years playing at the Omni. But after years of low attendance and financial […]

July 19, 1996

Atlanta Olympics Begin

For 17 days in 1996, Atlanta was the center of the world. In 1990, the International Olympic Committee chose Atlanta for the site of the centennial Olympics over five other cities. The games were the brainchild of Atlanta attorney Billy Payne. He and Mayor Andrew Young were the prime architects of the winning bid. The […]

October 28, 1995

Braves Win the World Series

Ted Turner called them “America’s Team,” but for most of their time in Atlanta they were lovable losers. The Braves played their first Atlanta season in 1966. In 25 years, they made the playoffs twice. There were a few highlights, some great players, like Hank Aaron, Dale Murphy, and Phil Niekro, but the Braves lost […]

April 7, 1995

Georgia Peach: Official State Fruit

Georgia is called the Peach State, but the fruit has been part of our history long before there was a Georgia. Franciscan monks introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland Island in the 16th century. Cherokee Indians grew peaches here in the 18th century. Raphael Moses, a Columbus planter, was marketing peaches in Georgia in […]

December 20, 1994

Dean Rusk

The second Georgian to serve as Secretary of State was a prime architect of the Vietnam War. Dean Rusk was born in Cherokee County in 1909. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford prior to World War II, Rusk strongly opposed appeasement of Hitler, a position towards tyranny that would shape his worldview all his life. Rusk […]

September 17, 1994

“Ma” Rainey

Macon usually gets top billing when it comes to Georgia’s musical heritage, but Columbus has a trump card – “Ma” Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” who was honored on this day in 1994 by the U.S. Postal Service.  Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was born in 1886 in Columbus, where she first started performing in vaudeville […]

January 23, 1993

Thomas A. Dorsey

“Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” one of the most famous gospel songs ever written, was inspired by the personal tragedy of its author. Thomas Dorsey was born in Villa Rica in 1899 and grew up listening to shape-note singing and spirituals in church. He was also influenced by blues icons Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. […]

June 29, 1993

Georgia Lottery Began

This could be your lucky day and not just because you’re reading this. In Georgia, lotteries have been around since the 18th century. Indian lands were distributed through a lottery in the 19th century. Governor Zell Miller campaigned promising an education lottery, and in 1991 the legislature passed an amendment to Georgia’s constitution that designated […]

August 31, 1992

Charles Weltner

He was a Georgia congressman who courageously spoke out for racial equality at a time when few white leaders did. Charles Weltner was born in 1927 in Atlanta and graduated from Columbia School of Law before a stint in the U.S. Army. As an Atlanta lawyer, he spoke out against racial violence in the wake […]